Police use of force and the cumulative force factor
Purpose - This paper aims to build on and contribute to earlier studies on use of force by the police, and examines both officer and suspect force levels during altercations. Design/methodology/approach - Prior attempts to study non-lethal force have only recently begun to examine the multiple levels of force that may be used within a single encounter, advocating the use of a "force factor" approach. This study examines 4,303 "use of force" reports from the two agencies in Florida for a five-year period. Findings - Similar to prior studies which utilized data gathered by observation, this current study finds that law enforcement officers are operating at a force deficit; officer levels of force are consistently less than suspect resistance levels. Research limitations/implications - Data examined through police reports have certain inherent limitations, including the bias of the reporting officer. Analyses of these reports make it impossible for researchers to determine the length of each portion of a conflict. While verbal commands, threats, handcuffing, and takedowns may be important forces to review, they are not well represented in the data collected. Practical implications - These findings have critical implications for law enforcement by continuing to examine conflicts where police force is utilized, showing the importance of officers to be prepared to use decisive force at the point where verbal techniques and force de-escalation have failed. Originality/value - This paper is valuable to scholars and police practitioners because it continues to expand the scholarly review of police use of force, utilizing existing force continua to analyze the data, and taking into account levels of suspect resistance.
Policing-an International Journal of Police Strategies & Management
"Police use of force and the cumulative force factor" (2009). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 2324.